Simplified Kale In The Kitchen

Back in the day, I had gazillion minutes on my hands. I had plenty of time to drive to Vineland, NJ, where a plethora of farms were located and I picked fresh kale, cabbage, and collard greens.  Local farmers welcomed pickers with open arms.

I took pride in the fact that my veggies were locally grown and that I picked them. How cool was that?  It was fun soaking and washing the crusty dirt from each leaf.  Then rolling the leaves pridefully, cutting them into tiny pieces only to build a mountain inside an oversized pot that cooked down to half the size.  Hehe! Oh boy!!  Those were the days.

Today my relationship with my veggies tell a different story. While my lifestyle today is healthier than before, and I continue to eat fresh (sometimes locally grown), the truth is:

Even if I had the time to pick fresh kale, collards, cabbage, or other produce from a farm, those beautiful leaves would sit in my fridge and slowly wilt and rot.  

Rather than make myself crazy with the process, my kale and collards enter my shopping cart looking like this.

kaleThe greens are already cut, tho not as small as I like but size doesn’t affect the flavor, so it’s really not that serious.  I buy these 16 oz. bags fom BJ’s and it works for me.  The greens are clean, but I soak and wash them again anyway.

One day when it’s just hubby and I, I can do the garden thing, but I know my current imitations.

label

Kale Nutritional Label

I typically cook two pounds at a time.  To ensure they are thoroughly seasoned, I cook them in a large pot and carefully season each layer. Sometimes I combine one bag of kale and one bag of collard greens.

Kale_in_pot

1. Add two handfuls of greens.
2. Chop and add half of a sweet onion.
3. Add spices: granulated garlic powder, black pepper,  crushed red peppers, and Lawry’s Season Salt (Only if you must have salt, I prefer without)
4. Olive oil.
5. Repeat until all of the greens are in the pot.
6.  Depending on the size, I use two-three onions.

Sorry, I don’t know how much; I measure by sight. I thoroughly cover with seasoning. Too much garlic or pepper can never be a bad thing–right?  Lol!

Stir them well and cook them slowly.  I like my greens with a light crunch to them, so I cook them until they are bright in color.  As soon as the greens are cooked to my liking, I remove them from the heat and transfer them to a pan to cook.  Don’t cover until them until they have completely cooled off.

If you do food prep like I do, this is an easy way to get your greens in for the week.

greens in pan

To add variety to my food prep for the week, I also cooked two pounds of brussels sprouts.

Soak the brussels, cut the ends off, slice in half. Toss them in a baking pan. Add olive oil, the same seasoning used for the kale and add about a half cup of water. Cover with foil. Bake in the oven at 350 Degrees for about 40 minutes (depending on how firm you like them). When the brussels are cooked and you remove them from the oven, don’t forget to keep remove the foil or they will continue to cook.

Neither the kale or the brussels are freshly gardened picked, but as I already said, no longer do I make myself crazy trying to incorporate a task that is unrealistic and will put me into a frenzy.

With so much going on in my life, simplicity is the goal.

I know it’s been some time since I’ve written regular posts, but I am back!!!  ūüôā

Thanks for stopping by.

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Turkey With More Kick Than Beef

When I cooked on Monday,¬†I was dogged tired. I left work, picked up B’Dazzle from school and drove straight home.

I wanted so badly to nap, but my weekend was full of fun (car show and bowling), but I did not get my meal prep or other cooking done so I had to cook after work. #notfun!

red convertible

Mercedes SL400… give or ¬†take $200,000. ¬†Lol!! ¬†I’m not a materialistic person, but I want this car; it’s a beautiful work of art. ¬†ūüôā

white convertibleOkay so the BMW 4 Series is financially more realistic. ¬†I can work with this model¬†ūüôā ¬†We had a blast at The Philadelphia car show. If you are a car enthusiast and haven’t attended a car show yet, add it to your list; you’ll go bananas!

Anyways, if you know me or follow my blog, you know that I don’t eat red meat. My last steak was December 1996 and I don’t miss it. ¬†The last time I cooked red meat (a steak for Father’s Day for hubby), I nearly puked.

While B’Dazzle read and worked on similes and metaphors, I tackled cooking…. 4 O’clock in the evening til just past 9:00 p.m.

Why on earth would I cook for 5 hours straight on a weekday when I have to get up early the next day?

Lifestyle baby!!

I’m committed to bodybuilding/weight training & fitness!

I’m committed to eating clean!

I’m committed to looking and feeling my best!

To net success and positive results in all that we do, we have to set aside mediocrity and work toward a greater level of consistency in commitment and sacrifice. Average input will not do.  With regards to fitness, others might view me as compulsive; but as I continue to grow stronger and my physique speaks for itself.

I wanted and needed to hit the gym, but even more important than the gym was having food prepped for the week. ¬†What’s the point of working out and following it up by eating crap? ¬†That makes no sense and is counter-productive. So, I lit the stove, warmed the ovens, and got busy cooking.

First item on the list?  A turkey loaf.  Turkey is naturally bland.  To liven it up, you have to add lots of fresh spices and goodies like this:

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs (¬†approximately) ¬†lean ground turkey breast
  • 3 peppers (red, yellow, and orange)
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 2 cups of Panko wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (I prefer baby leaf)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms
  • 4 eggs (3 are in the video)
  • To taste.. I don’t measure. Just make sure you can see the spices in the meat after you stir. ¬†More spices is only going to enhance the flavor. ¬†Be careful tho with the Lawry’s, it has SALT (an evil word to me). ūüôā
    • Granulated garlic
    • Lawry’s seasoned salt (a little)
    • Grill mates Brown sugar bourbon
    • Crushed red pepper
    • Black pepper (prefer freshly ground but was too tired for that..)
  • 1 small can (unsalted preferred) tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbs. of (organic preferred) baking sugar
  • 1 Tbs. of lime juice (fresh preferred)
  • 1 Tbs. golden mustard (only my mom’s French’s spicy mustard was on hand; it’s not that serious)

Now what?

Place turkey in a large mixing bowl. Chop the peppers, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Toss in the bowl and thoroughly mix.  Add dry spices and mix.  Add bread crumbs and mix. Add eggs and mix. Normally I would double the eggs and use only the yolk, but did I mention I was tired?  Set aside.

Pour tomato sauce in a medium to large measuring cup.  Add lime juice and stir.  Add sugar and stir.  Add mustard and stir.  Pour half of the tomato sauce mixture into turkey and mix well.  Save other half of the mixture.

Pour turkey mixture into baking pan and shape to your liking. ¬†Pour remaining sauce over the loaf or whatever shape you created. ¬†ūüôā ¬† Cover and bake at 375 degrees for…. Umm.. Geez! ¬†I’m trying to remember how long it cooked. ¬†Lol! ¬†I was tired. ¬†Did I tell you that already? ¬†Well, it definitely baked for at least one hour. After an hour, I took the foil off and let it cook a little longer to brown. Every oven is different (my gas oven bakes quicker than my electric oven) so just be careful and check it after an hour.

When it’s done, freakin enjoy it because it’s DELICIOUS!

So that was only one dish! ¬†I also cooked, baked brussels sprouts for mom (and me), baked chicken breast, mashed sweet potatoes, brown rice, and lentils. ¬†Here’s the evidence!

brusselsMom and I are the only two in the house who appreciate brussels sprouts. Here they are soaking in water before I sliced and seasoned them.
cooked brussells

Seasoned with garlic, pepper, crushed red peppers, and olive oil, I tossed the brussels sprouts in a foiled covered pan and baked them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  They have nice crunch and a spicy kick to them.  Mmm..

boiled potatoBoiled sweet potatoes¬†sweet potato seasoningsAfter peeling and mashing the sweet potatoes, I seasoned them with cinnamon, coconut milk, nutmeg and unsalted cultured butter… No sugar. ¬†I don’t usually use butter in my mashed sweet potatoes, but since my family would be tasting, I added a little.

lentil bag

rinsed lentils

While in Whole Foods two weeks ago, this package of organic black lentils caught my eyes. It’s good to try new foods; it makes meals so much more interesting.

After rinsing the lentils (the entire bag), I tossed them in the crock pot using 4 cups of water and 4 cups of juice from parboiled smoked turkey. The “smoked” turkey isn’t the best choice, but my family wants meat in their soups.

I ran out of onions, so I added extra spice: chopped fresh garlic, bay leaves, oregano, black pepper, and crushed red peppers. Before adding the meat to the pot, I removed all the skin, bones, and fat. Before heading to bed, I set the crock pot on low and to cook for 10 hours. The next morning when I headed down stairs for my coffee, I was also greeted by the wonderful aroma of spicy cooked lentils.

plateNow I’m pretty much set for the week with very little cooking needs.

Make it a great day! ¬†ūüôā


Approaching The Finish-line

 

“You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.”

– Roger Maris
Major league outfielder

Four days remain and I am going strong!!

My meals for today?  Same as yesterday.

Lol! It’s a mental thing right now.

I LOVE chicken! The kale and collard blend really is a treat. ūüėú

20140513-062701.jpg

Yesterday after work, I practiced posing, did a little total body (except for legs), and 30 minutes of constant cardio.  Today is pretty much a repeat of yesterday.  By the way, I dropped one (1) pound.

Have an awesome day!